PURPOSE: To assess the role of Tibial Plateau Slope (TPS) as risk factor for early Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction failure and contralateral ACL injury in a population of patients with less than 18 years of age and operated on with the same surgical technique.
METHODS: Ninety-four consecutive patients (mean age 15.7 ± 1.5 years) with at least 2 years of follow-up, who underwent ACL reconstruction with a single-bundle plus lateral-plasty hamstring technique in the same centre were included. Subsequent ACL injuries (ipsilateral ACL revision or contralateral ACL reconstruction) were assessed within the first 2 years after surgery. Anterior, central, posterior TPS of medial compartment were measured on lateral radiographs and compared between patients with intact graft and those with a second injury. Cut-off values with sensitivity and specificity were calculated with receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Survival analysis for second ACL injuries and multivariate analysis were performed.
RESULTS: Eight patients (9%) had ipsilateral ACL Revision and eight patients (9%) had contralateral ACL reconstruction. Patients with contralateral injury had a higher Central TPS with respect to those without second injury (12.6° ± 2.8° vs 9.3° ± 3.7°, p = 0.042). No differences were present in patients with ipsilateral ACL revision. Sensitivity and specificity for central TPS slope ≥ 12° to detect a contralateral rupture were 63% and 75% (p = 0.0092), for Anterior TPS were 100% and 52% (p = 0.0009). Patients with TPS values exceeding these cut-offs had higher rate of contralateral ACL injuries (19%vs4%, p = 0.0420) and lower 2-year survival (p = 0.0049). Multivariate analysis identified pre-operative sport level and TPS (either anterior or central) as risk factors for contralateral injuries.
CONCLUSIONS: Steep tibial plateau slope ≥ 12° is associated with a higher risk of contralateral ACL injury within 2 years after ACL reconstruction in patients less than 18 years of age. However, TPS has no role in early ipsilateral re-injury after combined ACL reconstruction and lateral plasty. The clinical relevance is that both the surgeon and the patient should be aware of this higher risk and consider it in the rehabilitation phase to reduce the incidence of such injuries.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.
- Second injury